STRANGE MILITARY EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT - THE CORAX - STEALTH DRONE
UK Stealth Drone Unveiled
The Brits want to get out of the traditional fighter jet business, and start putting robots in the cockpits, instead of blokes.
After the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is done, the Ministry of Defence is looking to build unmanned combat aerial vehicles, or UCAVs, according to Jane's International Defence Review. But developing killer drones takes time. So Brits are working now with the American military on a "Project Churchill... an effort that is focused on the joint, airborne command and control" of the UCAVs."
The drone pictured here -- called the Corax -- is one of two robo-planes that the Ministry will use as platforms for their UCAV development. (Jane's doesn't mention whether the cancellation of the American killer drone effort will affect the project. One suspects it might.)
"The jet-powered Corax had performed several successful flights as early as 2004 – taking off and landing under computer control," New Scientist notes. "The aircraft is curved in a manner than resembles existing 'stealth" aircraft. The special shape of such craft is designed to defeat radar detection by reflecting radar away from a radar sensor instead of back at it. Corax also lacks a conventional tail, which should make it more aerodynamic but also more difficult to control."
All of which reminds Jane's of the infamously secretive DarkStar stealth drone, canceled in 1999. It also had "a tail-less configuration, and a long-span unswept wing mounted at the rear of a short body section."